This project built on the work of the UKLA Children’s Literature SIG and The Reading Agency’s Chatterbooks programme. Students from four universities were invited to participate in developing children’s literature circles in schools, using the Chatterbooks materials produced by The Reading Agency. The research explored students’ progress and development through this project, and how their developing knowledge and understanding supported that of the children with whom they worked.
The project involved students and tutors from a mixture of postgraduate and undergraduate teacher education programmes from the universities of Winchester, Roehampton, Worcester, and Christ Church University Canterbury. The UKLA grant allowed the tutors from these institutions to meet together with The Reading Agency in London for planning and ‘next-steps’ discussions.
Common themes in the outcomes for student-teachers were a developed awareness of the importance of reading for pleasure and growing confidence in working with a range of children’s literature. In addition to the findings being presented at the UKLA International Conference in 2015, evidence of the positive impact of the literature circles on children’s attitudes to reading (which was transferred to the classroom) was part of a presentation by the Reading Agency to the Department for Education; a consultation that led to a renewed emphasis in England on reading for pleasure in schools.